chebe: (Sewing Machine)
It has been a busy few weeks! From dipping my feet in the fog cloaked Pacific Ocean, to walking along the bright three-hours-of-night Baltic Sea, and all within a month. From San Francisco to Stockholm, I somehow managed to not visit any hackerspaces. I just didn't have the time. Work sent me to the Bay Area for training, and I went to Stockholm to take a sewing course.

Stockholm is very easy to get around. The city centre not being that sprawled means you can easily walk around all day. But there's also public bikes, buses, trams, and trains. Everyone is friendly and has great English, which is just super convenient for the clueless tourist like myself.

However, the number of similarities between not only Swedish/English, but also Swedish/Irish is quite interesting. For example, button in Swedish; knapp, and button in Irish; cnaipe, pronounced almost identically. And then there's the Irish Viking place names, and Irish Norman family names... It's almost like they're related in some way ;)

But, back to the course! It was two days of exhaustive sewing. And I mean exhausting. I was falling asleep on the twenty minute train journey back to my hotel each day. Clearly I would never be able to do anything as strenuous as the Great British Sewing Bee!

Details and pictures )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Ah, the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along. In one sense I'm behind. In another, I'm finished. See, I forgot for a moment that pattern company sizes are not regular sizes, and got the pattern in the wrong size. But, after measuring (myself, and the pattern) it became clear that the pattern included quite a bit of wearing ease. Which I would find unusual for a regular knit fabric, let alone the two-way-stretch knits we're actually using. So I chanced my arm and made up a toile in the largest size included.

I used some two-way-stretch knit I had laying around, which is just a bit heavier than the kit fabric. It doesn't really fray so I could skip most seam finishes. And I couldn't find any of my lace, so I made do with just some quarter-inch elastic.

Details and pictures )

The knit used is just about heavy enough to be a non-underwear fabric, and without the tell-tale lace details, well, my 90s self would like to wear this out dancing. She probably won't get her way, but I do adore this slip/lounge dress. It's so comfortable, and the different sized cups provided means I actually have something that fits properly with very little effort! I think with the actual fabric I'll narrow the side seams a bit, just to take the pressure off. But otherwise, I'm very happy. Talk about your wearable toiles!

Slip Sew-Along

2014-Mar-30, Sunday 01:11 pm
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Gertie is running a new sew-along! Before you panic, this one should be much, much shorter than the last one. I don't have many details yet except that it's starting sometime in April, and her tag will either be Butterick 6031 or slip sew-along. I made things easy on myself by purchasing the kit and pattern directly, so all I need worry about is the fitting and sewing. Here's to more adventures in sewing!

Signed up for a workshop

2014-Feb-19, Wednesday 11:11 pm
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
I'm excited to have signed up for a sewing workshop in June. It's a specialised sewing workshop, two days on making your first bra. And it's in Sweden! Being taught by Beverly Johnson of Canada's Bra-Makers Supply and 'The Bra-Makers Manual'!

Seemingly this is Beverly's second trip to Sweden, and she'll be teaching a whole range of workshops over a couple of weeks. I never expected to be able to take a class with Beverly (Canada is too far for a workshop, even for me) so am ecstatic at this opportunity. Which is why I'm telling you all, in case this is something you'd be interested in as well!

*ahem* Ta-Da!

2012-Dec-12, Wednesday 02:00 pm
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)

It's a dress! Actually, it's the Crepe dress I started two years ago! (You can find previous posts with the tag gerties crepe sew along.) The astute among you will notice a couple of things.

Firstly that it's finished. I didn't want to risk posting another in-progress update in case I put it down and ignored it again for another few months. But yesterday was the annual Crafters Sugar-overdose Night (which has unofficially become the TOG Christmas party), and I was determined to have something to show at it. So despite my intense hatred for hemming I spent all of Sunday doing just that, and felt the relief of actually finishing something. This is my first (non-costume) dress, so I now feel justified in calling myself a 'dressmaker'!

As Craft Night is directly after work I ended up wearing my dress to work. It was a peculiar experience. I have never worn a dress to work before, not even when I worked in retail. Skirts sure, but not a full dress. Being the middle of winter I made one concession, the stockings were swapped for leggings, so please excuse the bagginess in the photos.

Secondly, oh observant followers, you'll have noticed that you've never seen this fabric before. Indeed, the project came to a rather definite halt when I gave up on the fitting and was about to cut the fashion fabric and realised that the fabric wouldn't work well with this dress design. Time passed, and I happened on an online fabric sale. The moment I saw this fabric I knew the dress was back on!

Here, let me do a twirl for you! (These photos are not instagrammed, just shot in poor, yellow, light. That first photo was taken with flash and shows the colours better.)

Photos! )

Did you spot the pockets? Pockets! Such wonderful inventions. Okay, since this was a sew-along I should talk a bit about the actual construction. The lovely patterned crepe is rather translucent, so it is underlined with black polycotton, which gives it a nice (but slightly stiff) body. Although, the hand-basting took such an impossibly long time that in future I will be saving this technique for particularly special gowns.

This was also my first time doing facings, and it was an adventure. The points on the neckline could have been done better. And my interfacing was so delicate that I melted a few pieces with the iron. That took getting used to. And they are so light that they have to be tacked down in several places to stop them flipping out. (That is one advantage of the underlining; I can tack to the lining without having the stitches visible on the outside.)

My usual method of seam construction is straight-stitch finished with overlocker. In some places, like the skirt side-seams with the pockets, I had to leave the seams open, so I overlocked both sides. Speaking of pockets; I initially put them in the wrong way around. So I had to cut them out and put them back the right way around. Silly mistake, and reminds me to not sew when I'm tired.

Other than that my skirt is 62cm long measured from the waist seam. The ties don't want to lay flat and keep compacting, and there seems to be a bit extra fabric in the body, but I figure that's part of the pattern. I am glad I spent so much time working on getting the fit just so, because this really is a very comfortable dress to wear. (Like it was made for me or something :P )

Here are some shots of the inside of the dress )

Okay, that's that. *dusts off hands*
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Went to Craft Night at tog on Tuesday (15th), and actually had a productive evening! I did have to hog a large table, but other than using the floor there isn't any other way to cut out large pattern pieces. In that sew-along news I have all the underlining pieces cut out! Woo! But. I've decided that the fashion fabric, the second one, the purple crepe, is too shiny for this style of dress. *sigh* So I'm again at a standstill until I can find a fabric I'm happy with.

But that's okay, because in the meantime I've wandered off into a short little project; making a camisole.
Trials and tribulations of construction )

But, for now, Ta-da, done!

View of finished top on mannequin from front View of finished top on mannequin from back

Felt needle-book

2011-Aug-29, Monday 07:19 pm
chebe: (Spools of thread)
This cute little felt needle-book was a short project in Craft Magazine volume 6, page 58. It's very simple to make, and has turned out to be really useful.

Just two rectangles of felt, sewn together down the middle, with a little latch added as a closure. It's closed with a metal snap, the button is added just for decoration.

The image of the woman sewing is a small piece of fabric taken from a sewing themed fabric I received as part of a random scrap/sample pack I'd bought. I couldn't think of a more suitable piece of fabric. It's simply placed on top and wide zig-zag stitched on.

It's handy to keep odd pins and needles neat and tidy, and also to bring a small selection with you in case you have to leave the house :)

Look under the cover )
chebe: (Spools of thread)
I'd like to introduce you to a new member of staff here at chebe studios, her name is Felicity.
Meet Felicity )

Speaking of which, I'd like to talk about what Felicity is wearing today. The top is simply an old RTW vest-top I bought years and years ago. The bottoms however, are my first attempt at making the knickers from Colette's Nutmeg (#1011).
Adventures in sewing )
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
I started this project eight months ago. Eight! Despite that actual construction only took two days. Here's the first post. Everything went wrong with this top. From using a regular sharp needle instead of a ballpoint, using interlock with 50% stretch instead of knit with 25%, not having enough fabric and having to invent a centre-back seam, the top being way too wide, way too long, and the neckline getting stretched. But finally I reached a point where I decided it would be better to have a half-ruined finished top, than a bundle of material forever incomplete. And, well, I had to chop off a lot, from everywhere, but it's not too bad for a ruinous disaster!

Two pics )

My mother was mid complaint about my buying yet more clothing on the internet before I had a chance to tell her I'd made it :) And on the plus side, it is soft and comfy, and I'm going to have no problems slouching around in this. Plus this purple really brings out my hair colour!

Sewing Preparations

2011-Jun-03, Friday 04:03 pm
chebe: (Spools of thread)

Can you guess what this is a photo of? It's what I've been doing the last few days. Preparation. There is a lot of preparation involved in sewing, and very little pay-off that can be photographed and talked about. When I was younger and tried to sew things without any real knowledge, my projects often ended in disaster. One thing I never did, out of sheer laziness, was pre-launder my fabric. Now I never skip it.

Lots of people have different ways of preparing their fabric, some more exotic, some more time-consuming. Mine is very ordinary. I don't pre-shrink, or pre-soak, so much as pre-launder. I check the fabric type, any washing instructions, and then guesstimate my heart out. The reasoning being if the fabric can't withstand my washing routine then I don't want to bother with it. Usually, but there are always exceptions.

It all starts with a pillow-case. Well, two, one for lights, one for darks. I separate out my fabrics, taking light-coloured cottons together, strong-coloured, dark-coloured, etc. I unfold them and place them in the pillow-case. Once about half full I sew the case shut. Take to the washing machine, usually throwing them in on a 40-degree, low spin, cycle. Although special fabrics have special requirements. Regular washing detergent, regular fabric softener. When washed I put them in the tumble-drier. Not until completely dry (I fear scorching the fibres), but until barely damp. Then I take them out, free them from the pillow-case, and fold gently in the hot-press to air until dry.

Then comes the manual part, ironing. In certain circumstances I don't hate ironing, in fact I kind of like it. The circumstances being admittedly hard to come across; an easy-to-iron fabric, a bright sunny day, and the ironing board set up in the kitchen with the doors open, while the radio plays. Then ironing can become kinda zen, an act of bringing order to creased chaos. We've an extra large ironing-board and a steam-iron, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Once ironed I fold the lengths of fabric carefully, wrong-sides out, and leave to air a little more, usually over night. Then, and only then, will they get near the sewing table. Which, as you've guessed, is the next step.
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